Set to become a landmark for the local community, Balmond won a public art competition to design a permanent Shade Sculpture for the Mesa Arts Center, Arizona, USA in July 2014. The sculpture will create a new community gathering area, becoming a vital addition to the urban landscape, connecting the Mesa Arts Center campus with Main Street in Downtown Mesa.
Demonstrating an acute sensitivity to the sculpture’s environment, Balmond’s design takes its inspiration from the refreshing sensation felt when a clouds passes in front of the sun. Composed of three key elements: tensile fabric, glass oculi and columns with trapeziums, the Shade Sculpture is activated by the daily movement of the sun across the sky. The glass oculi, covered in a dichroic skin, are positioned within circular openings at the top of the structural fabric. As the sunlight hits the oculi, the colours of the dichroic film are projected onto the tensile fabric and ground below. As the day progresses the hues and shadows change, generating a creative and lively atmosphere. At night, the oculi will be illuminated jewel-like in a spectacular display of light and chromatics. Depending on the weather, the time of day and where you are standing under the sculpture, each visit will be a completely personal and unique experience.